What you need to know
Before you get too deep into this document, there are a few things you should know:
- You’re going to want to send a lot of data to your Illuminate installation.
- Basic reports will not work if you only stick to what is required in our data specs.
- For a lot of the built in reporting power in Illuminate, you’ll want to make sure that you’re providing data in the right places. Review this article for some more details on this.
- Don’t bite off more than you can chew right away. Start with your Core data set (more on this below) and then prioritize and phase in additional data sets.
The "Cliffs Notes" version
There are a lot of files that you can import into Illuminate. Here is a recommendation:
- Start with the core data set.
- Make sure that data is automated and importing nightly.
- Review your import logs (Admin > Data > Core Data Import Logs)
- In your studemo.txt file, make sure to provide the following columns:
- Race 1, 2, 3 (Columns 8, 9, 10)
- Is Hispanic (Column 11)
- English Proficiency/Language Fluency Code (Column 14)
- Primary Disability Code (Column 16)
- Parent/Guardian Highest Education Level (Column 22)
- Special Ed Exit Date (Column 28)
- Student Lunch Programs
- Gifted Programs
That’s the short version! Read on for more about the general process, courtesy scripts, and the data specs …
As you probably know by now, the data process is one of the most integral elements to a successful Illuminate implementation. While getting started is generally a straightforward process, getting to where you want to be with all of your data may take some time. It’s recommended that you think about the various data elements that you are interested in using in Illuminate and prioritizing the data loads.
So what does the Illuminate data team do for me?
Illuminate’s data team has great experience with the Illuminate data set and Illuminate tools. One thing to keep in mind is that the Illuminate team does not have expertise in all other Student Information Systems (SIS). There are essentially three ways for you to get your data out of your SIS.
- Write and automate your own queries from your SIS based on the Illuminate data specs.
- Start with the Illuminate courtesy scripts for your SIS (if we have one) and make any necessary adjustments in order to get your data extracted and automating out of your SIS.
- Consult with local districts, your SIS vendor, or a third party data company to assist you with your extracts and automation (Illuminate can provide a reference).
We have worked with just about every SIS out there and have in many cases obtained “courtesy scripts” that we can distribute to help get you started with your data implementation. The courtesy scripts are usually extracts that other Illuminate clients have written and they were kind enough to share with us. These scripts may not work for you or they may require some tweaking on your end.
About the data specs
All of the Illuminate data specs can be found online at https://www.illuminateed.com/downloads. It is imperative to realize that whether or not a field is required is due to a purely technical requirement. Without the required fields your data imports will not work. You are definitely going to want to add non-required fields in order to have a fully functional installation. Many of the key Illuminate features will not work well without additional data.
On the downloads page you’ll see three different data specs:
- Illuminate Core Data Spec
- This is your starting point. Before moving beyond the core data spec and into additional data sets you’ll want to make sure that your core data is flowing into Illuminate on a regular basis - ideally nightly - and you’ll want to be sure that you have accounted for some pretty important data elements.
- The core data set accounts for your students, teachers, admin users, courses, enrollments, and schedules.
- Illuminate ISI Data Spec
- This is potentially your next stop. The ISI data spec is a requirement for ISI implementations, but the datasets in the ISI data spec are also available for importing into DnA or ISE installations.
- The ISI data set accounts for some very valuable data that can be imported into all instances, such as: programs, contacts, transcripts, attendance, and behavior.
- The programs data set, while not truly required for all installations is one of the most important data sets that you will want to get automated quickly in order to accurately track Gifted and Socio-economically Disadvantaged students.
- Illuminate Health Data Spec
- The Health Data Spec is generally only used in the initial data migration for ISI installations.
- The Health Data Spec is relatively straightforward, but has been separated out on it’s own since there are so many health related files that can be imported.
So that’s all?
Please understand that the data process is an iterative process. You’ll work with the Illuminate implementation and data team to iron out any issues with your data imports. You’ll review data and possibly identify some minor issues that need to be resolved. As you begin the process of automating the data and, more importantly, using the data you’ll start to get a feel for where you want to go next.
One important tip is to make sure that someone on your team is reviewing your data prior to major data events. If you are planning on rolling out online testing, make sure that you’ve looked at all of your courses and users in Illuminate. If you are planning on diving into some data for in depth analysis, take a look at some reports ahead of time and see if your subgroup reports ar working. Talk through timelines and data implications with your implementation manager.
The most important thing in a data rollout is preparation. Identify your key dates for data usage, and work back from there. Give yourself some time to identify any data issues and work with the Illuminate team to address them prior to key dates.
Working with the data team through the ticketing process is pretty painless. But if it isn’t working for you or if things are just taking too long, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and call your implementation manager or our support team to make sure that you’re on the right track as soon as possible!